Internationals - Money Matters
During the international student orientation, which begins a few days before the first-year student orientation, PNC bank representatives will visit campus to help you open a bank account. You are not obligated to open an account with PNC. Many students choose to do so because PNC has an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) on our campus in Hicks Center. Please see other local banking options below:
- Charter One Bank - has been helpful with currency exchanges
Additionally, Ambassador Tours has been able to change the following currencies into dollars: Euros, British pounds, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, Mexican pesos, Norwegian/Swedish/Danish kroners, Japanese yen, Canadian dollars.
For your own safety and protection, we do not recommend that you bring large amounts of cash when you travel to the United States. Please be aware that people entering the U.S. with cash exceeding $10,000 must complete a Currency Report Form in addition to the Declaration Form. Failure to complete this additional form can result in civic and/or criminal penalties, including seizure of the cash.
You may wish to exchange a small amount of money into U.S. dollars before leaving home to cover expenses for your first few days in the U.S. ($100-$300). It can be difficult to use $50 or $100 bills, and some stores will refuse to accept them.
- Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are located at airports and throughout Kalamazoo, including National City’s ATM on campus in Hicks Center. You may be able to use your home bank card in these ATMs but we recommend that you check with your home bank before traveling to the U.S. to ask about using your card in the U.S. and the possibility of additional charges or fees.
- Credit Cards are widely accepted, particularly Visa and MasterCard.
- Traveler's Checks in US dollars can be purchased at most banks around the world.
- Moneygrams - someone from home can send cash to you via a Moneygram. Make sure that the person sending the money to you provides the Moneygram sender with a 'test question' (that you will know the answer to). The test question and your correct answer (in lieu of the otherwise required documents - a valid U.S. Drivers' License or a U.S. Government-issued Identification card - which you probably will not have) will authorize the Moneygram clerk to issue the Moneygram cash to you. Moneygrams can be received at (and sent from) these Kalamazoo/Portage Walmart Stores:
501 South 9th Street, Kalamazoo - Phone: (269) 544-0718
6065 Gull Road, Kalamazoo - Phone: (269) 373-1314
8350 Shaver Road, Portage - Phone: (269) 323-8076
You can locate international Moneygram locations here: Moneygram Locations
- Wire Transfers from your home bank to a local bank once you have opened an account here in Kalamazoo. Ask about international wire transfer fees before you agree to open an account (fee is generally between $10-$40).
- Bank Drafts from your home bank can be used to open a local bank account in Kalamazoo, but you will not be able to withdraw funds from the account until the check has been approved for collection. The process generally takes 10-15 days, so do not rely solely upon a bank draft for immediate cash.
You must wait 10 business days after arriving in the U.S. to apply for an SSN. This allows enough time for your immigration information to be verified by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
You will need the following documents to apply for an SSN:
- A letter from the CIP confirming your Kalamazoo College student status
- A letter from the Payroll Office at Kalamazoo College confirming your employment status
- Your immigration documents: passport, I-20 or DS-2019, I-94, U.S. entry visa (F-1 or J-1) plus two copies of each of these documents. Please be sure to photocopy the front and back of your I-94 card.
- Completed SSN application form
When you go to the SSA, please take the documents listed above to 317 South Drake Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. The SSA is closed on all federal holidays.
SSN cards will not be issued to foreign nationals who are not authorized to work, e.g. F-2 and H-4 dependents.
All international students and scholars who are in the U.S. for any part of 2012 must file their U.S. income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service of the federal government. The tax filing deadline for 2012 is Wednesday, April 15, 2013. The access code for the CINTAX software will be e-mailed to all active international students in early March 2012. If you do not receive that information or have misplaced it, please contact us.